Wednesday, 10 August, 2022

Goodbye to an Aussie icon; Kenya’s toilet-scrubbing pollies; solar storm smashes Earth; and the star that was a sausage.



Star, or Salami? 


Want to hear Squiz Kids Shortcuts + Squiz The World podcasts? 

Teachers: Squiz Kids for Schools – Free 30 Day Trial:

Parents: Squiz Kids Apple Subscriber Content – Free Trial: 


Squiz Kids Instagram:

Got a birthday coming up and you want a shout-out? Send us an email at [email protected]






Whether you turned on the TV, the radio or dipped into the news online yesterday – there was one story that dominated them all. The death of Australian singer, Olivia Newton-John.

And the reason it was such big news is because for people of your parents’ generation and older, Olivia Newton John was as big a star as Beyonce or Ariana Grande or Taylor Swift is in yours. 

Ever heard the song ‘You’re The One That I Want?” or maybe you’ve watched or heard about a musical and hit 1970s movie called ‘Grease’ featuring Sandy and Danny? Have you ever caught your mum swanning about the house singing about Xanadu – a place, where nobody dared to go? Or losing themselves for a moment of nostalgia as the first bars of the song ‘Hopelessly Devoted To You’ waft from the radio?

They’re all big moments in the pop culture life of your parents and grandparents. And that’s why the fact that a 73 year-old Australian entertainer who has lived in the United States for almost 50 years passed away yesterday will continue to make headlines all week.

Because while it may seem funny to you now: as you grow older and you become teenagers and young adults – you’ll become attached to the entertainers whose music or movies or TV shows make an impact on you. Their songs might speak to you, their music might move you – and as you get older you’ll look back and remember the spark of joy they brought you when you were young.


Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops .. and today we’ve landed in Kenya, where politicians have been trying to win votes by cleaning toilets and serving beers.  Citizens of the east African nation hit the polls yesterday, and we know from our own recent federal election that when politicians are on the campaign trail, they make a habit of visiting regular people at their jobs, and having a go themselves. It’s supposed to show us that the pollies understand our ordinary lives … and therefore, deserve our votes. 

And so in Kenya, that involves walking around barefoot, washing cars, DJ-ing… and yes, in the case of Polycarp Igathe, who is running for governor of the capital Nairobi, cleaning toilets. Although apparently he only mopped the floor for less than 20 seconds.  



Did you feel a bit of a wobble over the last few days? Maybe sensed a disturbance in the Earth’s magnetic field? Enough to make satellites spinning above us in orbit go a little bit wonky, to cause sudden disruptions to power grids or GPS devices – and even to confuse migrating birds who rely on the Earth’s magnetic field to navigate. 

That’s because the sun sent a sudden and unexpected surge of solar winds our way over the weekend. Winds that are generated by sudden bursts of intensely hot activity from the Sun – the star around which we orbit. I’m talking about solar winds that move at speeds of up to 600 kms per second. Per second. That’s fast, people. 

Luckily our atmosphere – and something called the magnetosphere – act as a kind of shield, protecting us down here on Earth from any serious impact from the solar storms.  

I know right .. it’s wild up there.



Let’s welcome Squiz-E the newshound back to the studio! This week, he’s sniffed out some rather deliciously stinky business on the internet. Specifically, a slice of salami. Let me explain. Last week, a very famous French scientist, Ètienne Klein, tweeted a photo of a glowing red circle, and said that it was an extraordinary, close-up photo of Proxima Centauri, the closest star to our sun, taken by the James Webb telescope. His tweet got thousands of responses, with people noting how fabulous the detail was on the photo, how wonderful it was that the telescope was allowing us to explore new worlds… you get the idea. 

But now Dr Klein has revealed that the photo was not a star… it was a slice of Spanish salami, called chorizo. He reminded people to stop, think, and check – even if the photo is beautiful, even if the person posting it is someone in authority, and even if they’ve posted legitimate photos from the Webb telescope before. A funny guy, he also noted that as far as all the experts know, there is no chorizo anywhere else in space. I’ll put a link to the photo in question in your episode notes. 


This is the part of the podcast where you get to test how well you’ve been listening …

  1. What’s the name of the Aussie singer who died and whose life was being widely celebrated yesterday? 
  2. What type of Spanish sausage was mistaken online for a distant star?
  3. In which African country have politicians been pitching for votes by cleaning toilets?




It’s August 10 .. Today is the Ekka Public Holiday in Queensland … so all the kids in the Sunshine State have the day off school (CHEER) .. The Ekka is short for Exhibition – which is the annual country-comes-to-the-city show – like the Royal Easter Show in Sydney or the Melbourne Royal Show.

It’s also a special day for these Squiz Kids celebrating a birthday today … 

Phoebe and Ava from Cannon Hill, Alice from Craigburn, Sophie from Golden Grove, James from Engadine, Amber from Woongarrah, Sadie from Echuca, Luca from North Parramatta and Finlay listening from over in Singapore. 

Belated shout outs go to Jack from Brisbane and Zander from Sydney. 

Classroom shoutouts go to… class 6B at St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School in Como, Oyster Bay, to year 6 and Mr George at Redfern Public School, class 3C and Miss Griffins at St Peter’s Catholic Primary school in Rochedale, class 3-6W at Bathurst Public School with Miss Webster and Mrs Fowler and lastly to Claudia who teaches at St John’s Anglican School in Forest Lake – a belated happy birthday for last weekend from all of your students!


The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Olivia Newton-John
  2. Chorizo
  3. Kenya